Ryan Van Wagenen has mixed views on the future for cryptocurrency

Ryan Van Wagenen Global Private Equity Director
Ryan Van Wagenen, Director at Global Private Equity. Photo: Supplied

Ryan Van Wagenen is from Salt Lake City and graduated in finance from Westminster College. Since 2009, he has been with Global Private Equity and involved in the technology sector since he was promoted to Director within the firm in 2011. Outside of his profession, Van Wagenen is close with his family and enjoys the outdoors. He is also an avid skier and rock climber.

Ryan Van Wagenen of Global Private Equity spent a few minutes in an interview this morning with reporters from Best in Australia to discuss the recent trends in bitcoin and his views on the future of cryptocurrency.

Here is a summary of the key points from the transcript of that interview. Note, portions of the interview were off the record, and are not included in this transcript.


The beginning of cryptocurrency explanation. Video: Ryan Van Wagenen, Youtube

Best in Australia: Well, this seems like as good a place as any to begin…

Ryan Van Wagenen: Sounds good, happy to discuss.

Best in Australia:…and if you could tell us a little bit about your background and what has happened in recent years that has made you develop such a strong interest in cryptocurrency.

Mr. Van Wagenen: I think more than anything it’s interesting to see an alternative investment that has performed so well over such a short period of time.  There are many college students and young adults around the world that are very wealthy due to 100-200x type returns over just a few years.

I have always had an interest, but given our firm’s investment in technology and blockchain that has ties to cryptocurrency, I have made it a duty to stay up to speed on the latest developments.

Best in Australia: Interesting. What are you hearing as of late and what do you think about the future of cryptocurrency?

Mr. Van Wagenen: This is a very tough question as there are and will likely always be mixed views on the future of the currency.

On one hand, you have the cryptocurrency perma-bulls. These are the types that are still heavily invested and looking to be part of the next best initial coin offering (ICO) and find the next bitcoin. A lot of these young adults were on the ground during the rise of bitcoin and have become extremely wealthy and want continued success. Some of the extremely affluent have even moved out of the country for tax advantages and are in the process of creating a utopia in the Caribbean. As of late, many have moved to Puerto Rico and are living the island life and seeing the benefits of living in a US territory that allows for tax advantages.

While on the other hand, we have prominent finance professionals and investors that are calling for the end. Although he didn’t give a time frame, Warren Buffet recently shared his negative sentiment on cryptocurrency. The billionaire and founder of Berkshire Hathaway said that with almost a certainty that there would be taking a turn for the worse in the near future and cryptocurrency would come to a “bad ending”.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase has been extremely negative on bitcoin since the start. Although he recently said he regrets being so vocal on bitcoin, he’s still bearish and feels cryptocurrency is a “fraud”.

In addition, government is starting to intervene through regulations and not hesitating to share doubts in the currency being able to last. India recently publically shared concern over inability to regulate and about the safety of capital invested in cryptocurrency. South Korea also joined in with China recently to vocalize a weakening of support.

Although many South Koreans in their 20s and 30s have been some of the strongest investors, the government recently discussed the possibility of a ban of trading in the near future.

(CROSSTALK)

Although some of these points raise concern, I think this is what makes cryptocurrency so great. Due to such mixed views and large interest the past few years, the currency is extremely volatile. One year we see 20x returns and the next we see 60% declines. This is a traders dream and the future is quite interesting. Only time will tell and we’ll find out a lot in the next year or two regarding regulation and government intervention.

Best in Australia: That makes sense and this is all very interesting.  Thank you very much for your time.

Mr. Van Wagenen: No problem, thank you.